Family Penguins (Spheniscidae)

Near Threatened

Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri)


French: Manchot empereur German: Kaiserpinguin Spanish: Pingüino emperador

Aptenodytes Forsteri

G. R. Gray

, 1844,

Antarctic seas




Circumpolar; restricted to Antarctica, 66°–78° S.

Descriptive notes

112–115 cm; 19–46 kg. Largest penguin; short-tailed grey and white bird with pointed and curved slender bill and contrasting patch at side of rear head. Adult has... read more


Loud trumpeting calls for contact and in aggression. Contact call a trumpeting note c. 1 second... read more


Marine and pelagic, in Antarctic waters. Breeds on ice floes near coast, or on the coast itself,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fish, especially nototheniids such as the bald notothen (Pagothenia borchgrevinki), normally 40–125 mm long, and... read more


 Arrival at colony Mar–Apr, egg-laying May–Jun; annual breeding cycle. Colonial, but not territorial. Courtship period c.... read more


Probably dispersive, but little known. Few adults seen N of 60º S. Pre-moult period at sea 30... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Now regarded as Near Threatened since projected climate change may lead to population decline. First breeding colony of this species was discovered... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez, I., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 April 2020).